Over the last few months, my family has been discussing personal and global finances ad nauseum.
From the failing economy, and the rise in consumer debt, to the high rate of unemployment (which we personally dealt with last year), there’s understandably cause for concern. Yet even though these specific issues have sparked our family’s desire to solidify tangeable financial goals for the year, we turn to the scripture as our authority for financial decisions.
With over 800 scriptures about money, God’s wisdom regarding these topics remain increasingly relevant and opens our eyes to his view on finances.
For many of you, the first credit card statement since Christmas has just come through the mail. Emotions may have dictated impulse purchasing decision, and you realize that new goals and commitments need to be examined for 2011.
Digging into scriptures about money may be daunting, but here are a few verses that I considered while I was setting financial goals for the year. Knowing the Lord has entrusted us to be wise financial stewards of what we have been given, is a monumental task, but as I dig in and further understand what it means, He kindly walks us through it with His word.
Contentment – Viewing all aspects in terms of where I stand in God’s economy is my desire. Ultimately, God is the owner of everything and we are just his stewards, so being content in anything he brings our way or doesn’t bring our way must be filtered through that sphere.
Philippians 4:11-13: For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of eating well or going hungry of facing either plenty of poverty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.
Generosity – Whether with my time, resources, or creativity, I am convinced we can never out give God. HE always provides and returns it in ways I could never imagine.
Deuteronomy 16:17: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.
Needs vs. Wants – I spent a lot of time during our unemployment pondering what our true needs consisted of in terms of God’s economy. Realizing that needs are often confused with wants, it’s amazing how simple life can be when we peel back the layers and enjoy simplicity.
Philippians 4:19: And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Lending – Over the past years, I have had to work through the truth of this scripture.Having loaned money multiple times without receiving it back, I now understand that when I give, I have to give with hands wide open. To harbor anger over unpaid debts leads to bitterness and sin. Then the heart of generosity with which it was given has been given over to Satan’s goal.
Luke 6:35: But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
Debt – So, the opposite of lending would be accumulating debt. Is there any such thing as “Good debt?” That’s a question each person needs to wrestle with personally. Living a completely debt free life is our goal. Mapping out baby steps, a time line, and ways to accomplish this, including paying off our mortgage, is what we are working on now.
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Here are the varying translations of the first portion of this passage. Owe no man any thing (KJV). Let no debt remain outstanding (NIV). Pay all your debts (TLB). Owe nothing to anyone (NASB). Keep out of debt and own no man anything (Amplified).
Preparedness – Without being fanatical, our family sees the importance of being prepared for many circumstances.
Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.
Proverbs 13:16 A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it!
Quick Riches – It’s tempting to wonder what it would be like to have an investment skyrocket or “win the lottery”, but waiting patiently on Him stabilizes the contentment and simplicity that I desire.
Proverbs 21:5: The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
Proverbs 23:4: Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it.
Enjoy digging into His word more deeply on these topics, since I just scratched the surface. I’d love to hear some of your financial goals for the new year. Would you care to encourage all of us and share them in the comments?